There are quite a few very good media channels in France but unfortunately for many you’ll need to get a French IP address to watch them. One of my favorites is called M6 Replay and I used to watch it with my son to help with his (and my French), simply because they’d dub a lot of popular US shows into French – so you could change IP to France and watch the Simpsons and pick up some new vocabulary. However first we had to figure out how to access the programmes because if you tried to watch any of the shows from outside France then you’d get blocked just after the adverts.
The reason is that like all the internet’s big media sites, the content is normally restricted to the country of broadcast. So M6 Replay was not available unless you connected through a French ISP and had an IP address originating from France. However fortunately you can change IP to France by by connecting first through a French proxy or VPN server.
How to Get a French IP Address
It sounds complicated but it really isn’t and if you use some simple software it’s just a matter of clicking a button or two. Here’s how to use a French proxy do it –
It’s relatively easy to do and if you use the product demonstrated you can even disconnect after the show has started streaming because the check is only at the beginning. However if you restart or switch to another broadcast then the web site will check for that French IP address again, so often it’s easier to keep the connection on.
The practice is known as geo-targeting or geo-locking and it’s growing extensively. There aren’t many major sites which don’t check your location now and then customise what you can see (or more often not see) depending on your location. Sometimes it’s quite useful as the search engines check your location too before listing results – which is obviously needed so that your search results are localised.
Usually it’s done to block access though, and big media sites like Netflix use it to lock you into a region specific version (usually with different prices). So if you start Netflix from the UK you’ll get a UK version, use a US IP address and you’ll see a USA version and so on. Using a tool like Identity Cloaker you can actually get access to all versions just by switching your location. So if you want to access French Netflix simply route your connection through one of the French servers and your French IP address will allow you access.